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THE ART OF PAINTING                       143

when my brush touches the paper, it goes as fast as the wind. My spirit
sweeps^ all before it, before my brush has reached a point."
^ In his lifetime Su had several portraits made of himself, the most
famous ones being those by Cheng Huaili and by the renowned Li
Kunglin. In Li's portrait, Su is painted as sitting on a rock with a cane
resting in his lap. Huang remarked that this portrait* caught Su
'Tungpo's^expression when he was a little drunk. In this posture one
can see him sitting relaxed, pondering over the laws of growth and
decay of the material world, while he enjoys the infinite rhythms of
nature spread before him. At any moment he may get up, take a brush,
dip it in ink, and write out what is there in his breast, either in the
beautiful words of a song or in the beautiful rhythms of a painting
m a script.

Once Tu Chishien came with a good piece of paper and asked Su
Tungpo to write something on it, but he suggested the measurements
of the script. Tungpo jokingly asked: "Now, am I selling vegetables?"
Kang Shihmeng had already, in March 1087, published facsimiles of
nine scripts by the two Su brothers. His own friends were among the
zealous collectors of his autograph scripts. One evening when his
friends were at his home, they were turning over the contents of some
of his old trunks. Someone spotted a scrap of paper containing some
barely legible script in Su's handwriting. Upon examination it was
$Kind to be the manuscript of his hobo rhapsody, called "The Yellow
ilud Flat", written "when drunk", while he was in confinement in
Huangchow. There were places so blurred that Su could hardly read
Jys own writing. Chang Lei made a copy and gave it to Su and kept
the original himself. A few days later Su Tungpo received a letter
from Prince Wang Shien as follows: "I have been trying ceaselessly
day and night to collect your writings. Recently I have obtained two
pieces of paper by exchanging three pieces of silk for them. If you
have recent manuscripts, you should give them to me and not let me
keep on wasting my silks."

A collection of facsimiles of some of the most intimate letters of
Su Tungpo, Western Tower Scripts, engraved on stone and published
as rubbings soon after his death, has survived to this day. These fac-
similes are like glimpses of a friend next door. In a postscript to one
of the letters he gave his wife's thanks to a friend who had sent her a
comb, and in another postscript he said he was sending a pot of pickled

It is perhaps easiest to explain Chinese calligraphy by saying that it
is really a form of abstract painting. The problems of Chinese calli-
graphy and of abstract painting are similar. In judging Chinese calB-

* See the reproduction following page 18.